Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Lumatcech Collective....

Well we had to be called something. The problem was that i wanted to enter us into a mapping festival in swizerland; and we had to have a name. So thats it; Lumatech Collective.

The team is taking shape now with my recruiting going well and some great talent coming on board. The visualisation/storyboard team Kat and Charlie are near the end of that task and then i can put the images on a timeline and start to think about the music. In respect of the music i have discovered a way of changing the pitch over a long period using a program called Propeller head Reason. The rest of the composition will be done by Nathan; who if things go well will be offered a peranent place on the collective. This pitch shift will be to signify the speeding up of time from days to a year. Over 300x! The animatic will tell us a lot regarding this transition; as it will the other transformations and the length of the whole production. I have also highlighted this method to Jakson one of my class-mates; as i believe it will be of some use to him.

I am still on the case to make the data from the scan available to my team for the Christmas break. This will give my ‘post team’ something to think about over this break. Also i have got to approach the media crew about borrowing a projector for the break so i can look into the lighting, well the shadows anyway....

Thursday, 25 November 2010

3D data.

I have been informed that the 3d  data is on the way but atm i have some screen shots of the house to show the gather.
These show the area scanned and where the best density of information has come from. The black areas have no data. When we get the 3d data back we can start modelling the building with the knowledge that we are going to be spot on.
I have also put in for a grant to the Arts Council to pay for the projector hire; this hopefully will alieviate that worry.

I have been looking into some mel script to do with behaviours of multiple objects and found some quite user friendly script. Hopefully soon i can show you some of my experimental work employing a script called hurd 2.0. this allows objects to behave like fish/birds etc.

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Progress report...

Firstly; let me appologise for the lack of blogging over the last couple of weeks.
And now news on what has been developing on the 'Projected History' project. The good news is that it has the green light to go into full production. I also have had some of my fellow group members show an interest in the project; namely Oddne and Kat. This is great news.

On the developments in the technical side of things; i have been looking into what skills will be required for the animation and have compiled a list. I am going to need 3D modellers; fluid dynamics; paint effects; particle effects and behaviours, lighting, rigging and animators for the production. On the pre-production side of things i have a story-board drawn up in 'rough' to give an idea to the production staff what i am looking for; a mood board and some colour key is also en-route.

Looking at the post production i will need to do a lot of compositing as each scene is going to be made separately from the same reference and composited afterwards. We can not do any after-effects work until the film is laid down on a timeline.

Talking of timeline i am still waiting for an offer of some music from the music dept; if this does not materialise soon i will do it myself.

I have been talking to Georg about the positioning of the camera for the reference; and he has introduced me to a way of 'baking' the scene off and re-rendering it from the point of view of the projector. Basically you tell the software where the projector is going to be and the computer renders it from that view. This has given me more time to concentrate on the content,

I have experimented with some boxes.

As you can see i have just given them a powder coat of white paint. This was good for my demo in Falmouth; but i had to be careful to set up the projecor exactly the same as i had  it set up at home; also this highlighted the need for some kind of rig/clamp device to make sure the projector does not move from the render spot. Sorry not many pictures as yet; but i have been working on the techniques i am going to need to pull this off. All of which i want to gain a firm grasp of.

Dissertation stuff...

Totally worlds apart from what i am doing for my FMP (discuss, lol), is my dissertation subject. It addresses the content of digital animation and if the way that it is being used and viewed actually renders western cultural imperialism impotent. By this i mean does the nature of a more visual; multi-faceted media producing west make taking on Westernisation and western ideals less appealing.
 So far in my research i have found that there is a strong stance against violence in digital content by some of the more traditional 'first point of contact' producers (Disney); but there are other agendas at work which i will reveal at a later date....

Monday, 1 November 2010

Named the Project...

Projected History. I don't like it that much either. But it will give us a chance to involve some well documented historical architectural styles in the animation; and give some idea to the 'panel' what to expect.
As this is going to be at night i have had to simulate some of the effects on a photo of the building. Also simulated the type of ambient light we might have to deal with and a spotlight simulation to show the actual building because i realised the image looked rather dark. In reality i hope that the night we do the performance the ambient light will be a lot less than this. I know this is more of an 'oh' shot rather than a 'wow' shot; but to get the finished result without first going through the practicalities of working out if it is possible would not have been possible; let alone accurate. At least i know this is realistic.

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Growing experiment.

Found a great paint growth tutorial. You can cast shadows with it and i think it looks pretty cool. This will be used for the vines; once i have discovered how to grow it along a curve. (its basically what its doing but out of one point :)

Problems encountered.

As an experiment one of our tutors suggested i use the projector in the studio to project onto a model made of basic polygons.
The first thing i done is plotted the position of the projector in world space, and the difference in elevation etc; compared to my model.
This all went well until i projected the object back onto its self. I found that i did not know the exact angle that the 'in situ' projector was set at; and therefore when it projected back it gave a distorted image. Without knowing the projector is true and square i am unable to get a true result.
Also the ratio has to be governed by the projector back through the software right to the camera in Maya.
I am going to put this down to experimental time; and revert to using a smaller projector which i can set up squarely.

The solution to the problem would have been to measure to the centre of the lens and then measure the centre of the projection; making sure that the two centres are at the same  height, this way you could make sure the projected image is true. So for the side of a building a scaffold is going to be needed. This was not time wasted; far from it, it just shows the setting up needed to get the result right. Also when we move onto bigger subjects, these experiments will become invaluable.

Monday, 25 October 2010

Some Technical gumph.

Projection Calculator

Found this online; which is good in one respect, but if you have a look it puts us at the very limit of the projectors capabitities.

There may be a way to maximise the space we have by matching the surface area to the aspect, in this case just to turn the projector on its side.
Atm i am just starting to make an absract model to show the way the method works. This is a short vid of a speaker i mapped; i was not too happy with it; but it will get better. (Believe me!)

Saturday, 23 October 2010

Update on the pitch...

As i have not had access to the projector i am wanting to use i have put a back-up plan into action. This will take the form of an installation rather than a  performance; and will be on the side of the building. It will be based on a year in the life of the house. It will make use of the plants already growing on the building; simulating the plants growing and flowering with 'brass' flowers. This will be set to music derived from Cornish Brass Bands; so it looks like the brass flowers are playing the music.
I warmly welcome Oddne onto my team; and as i have worked with him before i know  this is a very positive thing. The next thing i am working at is the 'WOW' shot; hopefully this will spur interest from anyone else who wants to come on the team; and get the project the go ahead.

Friday, 15 October 2010

Update on the pitch...

Have been asking peoples opinions on the possibility of involving a live performance along with our animation. The reaction has been good; with the idea put forward of a piece of music derived from the building. On the same account; we can model other bits of the university on a less grand scale for just one off instillations. These will be run as loops; continuously playing.
For the pich i am making a model one tenth the size of Tremough house to give the guests some idea of what we are proposing. This will also give us the chance to play around with the geometry and create some digital effects.
We have also got an old cinema  projector which needs testing in situ; and more exciting than that the use of  a robotic 3d scanner (apparantly it is controlled by a ps2 controller!) this is being borrowed from Cambourne School of Mines.
All in all the reaction from staff and my peers has been really positive; and i would like to take this chance to introduce some Second year students to the project after they replied to an email sent out  by myself. Scott, Brian, George and Insa all have different interests in the  project and i thank them for their interest.
Till next time....

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

So got a major pitch coming up...

And on that count i have to get a working example of the work i am intending to produce. After more research and some practical experiments i have found out a few things about projection techniques and its limitations. This includes the ammount of alteration to geometry where the effect is believable; and what kind of surfaces accept the projection best.
I have begun to work on using normal maps as projections. This involves exporting normal maps from image data and having it interpreted in After effects.
I have had some success with a projector borrowed from the Uni; but unfortunatly; i can not show you the results as i am waiting for a camera....long story.
The main idea i have is to map Tremough House.
As you can see the middle bit with the nine windows could be a real possibility. On failing that i may approach the theatre dept and see if i can do anything with the staging crew to tie in with a performance. This is not what i really want to be doing; but it may open up other avenues or possibilities.

Thursday, 2 September 2010

This is cool.!

Would love to do some projection mapping for the next year. As the masstransiscope idea has hit a stone cold wall. The research was good fun tho and time well spent. Looking to the future and plans of travel i feel projectionist work and mapping installations could be the way forward. Have spent some time looking at the method behind mapping and the problems people have come up against in the past; nw i cannot wait to get back into a more creative environment and put some plans into action. I am thinking of modelling my own house and getting a projector from somewhere just so i can have something to show; ifnot setting up some geometry as in the link and modelling that.
Now to find a projector...

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Hello all...

After the flurry of activity around the time of the last posting i am glad to say that i am still making time for some animation related tasks. These involve getting a new tripod; some after effects tutorials; a bit of drawing (any art materials in our house are at a premium; everyone wants a pencil), and some painting field trips.
I have been trying to capture light with watercolour paints, with varieing degrees of sucsess.
I am still researching into the masstransiscope; and a phone call plus some field research could be on the cards.

Thursday, 24 June 2010

Had an idea for an animation installation viewed from a train..

And i found this while doing some primary research...

This guy done the very same thing in the subway in New York.
I think i will have to look into his method and see how it was done.

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Got Some Work..

I have got myself some work through the summer working for an online tv channel called the cornwall channel. My role is like general dogs body at the mo; as the guy i am supposed to be workng with was out all today.
He left me some footage of an advertisment for a hairdressers we are doing an ad for to edit. That was good; like cutting it to some music and getting some punchy cuts down. When it is done i will put the link to it; so you can have a look.
Even got to listen to some of the football. Nice.
I spent the rest of the day exploring the motion editor in flash as i have abused my flash skills recently: (
I will be going out on location filming customers and i am expected to have a major creative input in the team.
The team consists of the boss Shane who does most of the editing at the mo; but he is always busy out filming so i can see me doing a load more of that : )
Another guy called Rohb who does all the coding for the site; by all accounts he is a bit of a wiz; i think they are using php.
There are a couple more people on the company who i have not met yet; but im sure the time will come.

Thursday, 10 June 2010

My thoughts on this term.

With the negotiated brief and the pitch project running all term, plus sessions with Frankie on cinematography and the work for Anne our feet have not touched the ground. And then there was the MEL scripting with Georg plus the animation technology lectures; its been right busy.

What would i have done differently?

Well i would have concentrated on Alex's project more and pushed him for more work instead of opening the can of worms which was Cheries project. That was a big mistake on my part. I could have producued something a lot more streamlined if i had done that and put a lot more time into experimenting with maya/compositing which i want to get into next year.

Also would have liked to be part of a team; this would have enabled me to form a working relationship for the third year; and get into a more formalised role.

The high points of the term was the experimental nature of the poetic timeline animation; the pitch, and getting back to using a paintbrush again.

I enjoyed the literature research and reviews, but still have a lot of honing in to do before i write my dissertation.
Will post some more images soon; until then...

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

A vision of future animation technologies; essay assignment...

In this essay I will be looking at the way animation is experienced from an end user point of view. With the advent of 3-d and high definition we have got to a point that we can produce images far past the capabilities of our sight. In other words; we are capable of ultra realism.

True realism is only now being confined to top end movies by the capability to mimic the way life plays out; and not the way it looks. You can take a still form a number of ultra-real animated films which have not got the motions side of things sussed and they look believable; but apply the movement and something fundamental is missing. This used to be referred to as the ‘uncanny valley’, where an animated character just did not look human enough. But in the big budget films that is now sussed. We can overcome that with the top end productions. So to enhance the experience further…lets take a journey into the not so distant future and look at the final piece in the animation pipeline...the viewer.

With the so called need for even more security measures; it is not going to be long before we all have identity chips inserted into our bodies at birth, these things are already here (RFID chips-Radio frequency Identification chips) and some people have been experimenting with them for some time.

Dr Gasson of Reading University, in an interview with the BBC reported that he has been using a chip for some time to make sure that only he uses his telephone or only he can get into his office.

The tag, which is a more advanced version of the animal tagging system, has had its problems, such as picking up viruses. He believes that people would have the procedure done once the benefits outweigh the possible negatives. These benefits could involve greater memory or the way that any audio/visual information is processed. With advances in processors and nanotech; there is no reason that synthetic neural stimulants could be produced by nanobots to enhance viewing or gaming experiences in the future. There are already nanobots that can go in to the body and produce or repair damaged cells; so why not enhance the experience of watching a film or playing a game?

These could be triggered in the film producing hidden signals such as ‘blipverts’ which are not consciously noticed; but would activate the nanobots.

As advances in the way we interact with the films and games we play and watch get more sophisticated; there is also the possibility of the nanobots gathering information about the state of our body and mind and transferring the information to the RFID chip which in turn could tell the computer/Film player what ending would be most satisfying for us. This concept has been around since the time of role playing books where you choose your own ending; but to do it without actually knowing would be a different experience; and offers the possibility of a different ending each day (as long as the scenarios have been produced).

With the capabilities of modern terminals and the possibility of a screen being able to produce more than one image at a time on the same surface; also sound that is ultra directional; this would make this a near future possibility. In reality I can see the big screen being actually in the eye; where all the information is actually transferred into the brain wirelessly and it is a very personal experience.

The problems which could be produced by having a set-up like this; where one is taken into another consciousness are quite obvious; the real world could be seen as a necessary evil; and market forces would again put it out of reach for everyone but the most well off; resulting in possible physical and mental addiction and depression on withdrawal. An experience like this was the subject of James Camerons ‘Avatar; and has been used before in Douglas Trumbull’s Brainstorm (1983) to name another, both with different takes on it. To combat any crime involved with the theft of any software; each experience could have a genetic fingerprint of the one person that it is meant for and this would stop any theft possibilities. Cloning chips would possibly not be a problem; I am sure communication between the genetics of the host and the nanobots would ensure this would not take place.

With people walking around covered in technology such as Bluetooth headsets and pedometers; and our environment full of it; such as counters and scanners implanted in roads and cameras with face recognition software on most town and city corners; it won’t be long before this technology is used in the field of entertainment.

It’s just a matter of when the pro’s outweigh the cons and people begin to cross over into the realms of this ‘electronic conjuncture’. I am sure that the people will have to decide they want to do it and it will not be enforced; but to convince the people what they actually want has never been that hard….We will see.

Thursday, 27 May 2010

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Hop and his house.

Been trying to get something representive of the finished look of Mamboness, here are a couple of ideas for my character and set design.
I have gone for a sketchy free hand feel to the scenery as i feel this compliments the narrative.

Friday, 21 May 2010

Pitch process

After the harsh realisation im doing this by myself, i have written the firrst short sketch and storyboarded it out. I still need to work on the characters; and give a whole look to the thing, but im defo making progress.
The first story goes like this;

All the main characters are lazing in the midday sun, a lorry goes past, a tire falls off the back.
Both the cat and the dog have designs on this tyre, but the dog gets there first. He is just about to start chewing on it when he feels a sharp pain in his behind. Its the cat. A fight insues and this disturbed Hop who comes over and separates them. Then Hop has the idea of cutting the tyre in three and the final shots are of the dog chewing his bit, the cat snoozing in hers and hops bit with flowers planted in it. Short but sweet, but packed with positive messages.

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Experimenting with dog and cat characters.

these show the development of snaggle; and how  his face is going to be made up so he can be drawn over and over again.

Pitch project influences.

This guy is a really great artist. I love his style and he is going to be one of the major influences on my pitch project animation.

Bit of an ad for sound bank...

Stock Music and Sound Effects Download the music and sound effects you need for your multimedia project today at Partners In Rhyme.

Monday, 17 May 2010


Just knocked these two up. They are complete opposites; so all sorts of gags are possible.

Snaggle is a clean living long suffering inhabitant of plane tmambo who is constantly looking for affection from 'most of the other inhabitants with various degrees of success.


Muzzle is the exact opposite of snaggle; always deficating; licking, pissing antagonizing and generally winding everything and every situation up. He is the typical 'big red dog'.
Hopefully i can get someone who is into character design to come on board to come up with more polished versions of these; but if not they will be separated into layers taken into illistrator; vectorised and exported into either toonboom or flash.
There owner Hop will be introduced later.

Backgrounds and colour pallette.

This is a lanscape done in pastel and cut out. It shows the sparse desert look that i am after.
This shows another cut out plus a cut out moon.

This shows the layers put together; when scanned in separatley and put into 2.5 D more perspective of distance will become possible.

Pitch project

Going to have to put the band video thing on hold for a while and go back; way back, to the summer of '09; when on one of my less linear rants i came up with the idea for a series of short animations named Mamboness. The series will be loosly based on the artistic style that branded the company 100% Mambo; a surf company whos posters are now considered to be modern classics.
This is one of their skate stickers; you can see they do not hold back on grossness which opens up several doors in the respect of an animation.

Friday, 7 May 2010

Pitch project.

For this i have been stumped since it was issued a couple of weeks ago; but  BREAKTHROUGH!
After a chat with one of my tutors about an idea of putting a band promo vid together i have managed to approach a Cornish band called Back beat Sound System and they have agreed to let me do it. They are keen on a mixed medium animation; so thats all good.
More about them here....

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Process of negotiated.....

Have been putting in a few hours on this project and now feel i can let you in on it....
I have got my inspiration from Eastre, a pagan goddess of spring,

This is a shot of the hares eye where the animation starts off.
This is the back of the hare; which is also animated...

and this is some of the landscape which has also been animated to give the feel of wind and altering light.

More to follow.

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Using Poetry for script. The Hare

Here is a draught of the poetry i am going to form my 'negotiated brief ' animation around.

Say Jack; have you seen her?
Is she in the meadow plain?
Racing hedgerow in view again;
Have you seen her?

Has she been with the night;
Struck gazy by bright moonlight;
Have you seen her?

Morning comes later on;
And she comes singing a silent song;
For she is always there;
Have you seen her?

May make some alterations to it later; but i am happy with the pace and the suggestion of visuals. The animation is going to be really out of my comfort area; with hand drawn/cutout backgrounds mixed with a live action sky and cut out characters. There is  a twist in the story when at the end it is revieled that the poem has been about Eastre; a Pagan goodess of spring strongly associated with the hare.

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Negotiated brief idea.

For this i was going to go back to a character animation task we were set last year and do one with a  3d model. But after some consideration i have decided to look at the uses of poetry acting as a script and a timeline and write some poetry. The poetry has to put an image in your head; then the animation can be a lot less obvious; with the posibility of bringing 'themed' images into the production.
With the pace of the poetry governing the pace of the animation i feel this should give a natural pace to the animation; although it is actually breathing. I have done a few sketches of a hare; which is one of my favouite animals and the poem is going to reflect the hares place in English folklaw and paganism. Will update when i have done the first storyboard run.

Tuesday, 13 April 2010


I have been trying to do the lighting at  home with some success. I have managed to get the hue of the light right; but it is a labourious job as my machine is lagging like a four year old in a supermarket. I will persevere and i have been in contact with Cherie. In all honesty i think the continuity of the lighting shots is going to suffer unless we are tightly networked together so we can all see the results. Cherie has been supplying reference shots; but it is hard to see the direction of the light.
I have been writing my second literature review; and have had to go online to recover some material which is reviewable.
The animated work i want to do is Avatar; because i feel it is probably one of the most; if not the most; successful politically motivated film of all time. It has had American audiences cheering on native people who are ripping into American troops. This would have been unthinkable not so many years ago; especially in Washington D.C!

Thursday, 8 April 2010

check this..

Click ME!

Cool trailer.

This looks cool; i can't help thinking the characters must take over from the spectacular; if this does happen in the film goodo; i like dragons but i like a good charecter animation as well. Maybe a Dragon with character???
Here i go again; gonna have to see it now, will report back; also with the dissertation subject in mind as well.

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Thoughts on the 'open brief'

 I feel this one has more to do with time management than actual quality or quantity of the work produced. We have been told to look at our workload over Easter and choose a project based on the time we have left, this is obviously a skill which is at the heart of delivering any animation on time.
The assessment of the situation will also rely on your understanding of the process; and this of course will tell you how much time you can put to do the 'open brief'.
I have a couple of ideas for what i want to do. Firstly; i want to go back to the rudeiments of animation and do something which heavily involves the principles we learnt in the first part of this course. As an animation student i  feel it is important to actually 'animate' as much as possible; and not get side-tracked by learning too much new software (even though this has to be done); so when i come out of this course i can actually 'breathe life into inanimate objects'. The software can wait.
Secondly; the marrage of visuals and sound; research into post and pre synchratic animation. I can see the benifits in both; but i love the idea of having a timeline already in place to animate to.
Well thats my thoughts for a minute; more to follow on the lighting process and the Vj loops. Then there are the literature and film reviews and maybe a bit of drawing; gunna have to be careful with me time....

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

A Quote from George Lucas on the subject of Cultural imperialism...

Cinema and Television are the most powerful media in the World. They can and they do affect our lives for the good and for the bad. I found interesting a not-so-recent article talking about an award ceremony dedicated to one of the most important director in the Film History. The guy who changed many millions of lives during may 1977, the year during wich Star Wars took place on every silver screen of the Earth.

“There has been a conflict going on for thousands of years between the haves and the have-nots, and now we are in a position for the first time to show the have-nots what they do not have.”

[...]the United States is a provincial country with a culture that has invaded the world via Hollywood[...]

This is what George Lucas, the mythical creator of the Star Wars film saga, commented while receiving the “Global Vision Award” in San Francisco, United States.

He went on with:

“I hate to say it, but television is one of the most popular exports,” Lucas said. People see shows such as “Dallas,” about a wealthy Texas oil family, and decide they want the grand lifestyles portrayed, according to Lucas.”They say that is what I want to be,” Lucas said. “That destabilizes a lot of the world.”

Other work i have been doing.

I have been doing a bit of 3D modelling for a friend; he is an archetect and i asked him if he had any plans he wanted modelling. I had a period researching into compatability of different Autodesk products but in the end i used some PDF drawings as importing the DWG files did not work.
This project can be used in the 'US and THEM' project i am also doing for the third years.
It is far from finished; but was just more of an exercise in working off drawings and with increments.

The beetle is coming along ok; with the addition of a spoiler i think it is ready. I have done a turnaround of it and some small animated loops (which i will try to find now...). Ah my blog wont let me post vids; but i'll get it sorted for later.
This is a still of the Beetle. I am fairly happy with it but i feel it could have been tidied up a bit more; especially where the edges meet.

Lighting Timmys Gift.

Hi i have been looking into the best method of producing some kind of fog in Maya. There is a way to do it at the render, but this is very general and does not look that good. It also is only available in Maya's own renderer.(Environment fog).

The alternative (or the one i am using) is to use a spotlight and a Mib shader. I also used a ramp linked to the colour of the fog to increase the feel of ‘drop-off’. There is a lot of methods of control, but the only way you can be sure that the change to the fog had any effect (at 640x480 for the sake of a quicker render) is to constantly render out your work and save incrementally. When doing this at home each full render takes 20 minutes but if i just render a section it does not take so long.

This is a shot of just the light coming in from the left; without the light for the characters. The blue spot in the middle is the size of the area i ended up rendering to speed things up. 

This is the same shot with the characters lit from one side. It is still a bit bright. By playing around with the penumbra and the drop-off the edge of  the light is feathered and soft. (sounds like some kind of nest!)

Thursday, 18 March 2010

New missions.

Hi all, had a good talk with our course leader Andy today (they call them tutorials; just like a catch up really), and he has given me the chance to work on an animation being made by Cherie, one of the third years on the lighting team. I will be working with Emma, who is a lovely girl, and starting on it TOMORROW!!! 
This is cool as i was really wanting to do something with lighting; and i feel the practical experience we had in the green screen room with the lighting in there will come in really handy.
I am going to research theatre lighting techniques and really get on this one; COOL!!!
This project runs through the break, so i will not lose the momentum i feel i have built up over the last term. Thats one thing about our calender; if you don't keep busy then you lose that drive; and i dont want to do that.
The animation is in the style of Tim Burton apparently; so i guess the lighting will be pretty important for the mood, etc.
Will keep you posted, another new project is iminent as well so busy, busy!
Also making progress with Alex on the city scape he wants me to make; will post up a still of the slotted building idea that we have come up with;it looks awsome; got the beetle dodging a few asteroids now, the thing is coming to life. Got to get on the graph editor to ease in the beetles flying turns; in this way the flight pattern will look a lot more natural. Still putting the finishing touches to my literature reviews; Cultural Imperialism is a pretty deep subject; especially when you talk about media. It is a thing that has to be quantified from several different standpoints and a lot of factors have to be taken into consideration, such as the political power that is dominant at the time; the ability of the population to digest the medium. This shows why animation is such a powerful tool to get any message across.
Well enough of that for just now; signing out.

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Interesting take on animation types and discipline

My literature review.

Being that my dissertation subject is going to be colonial imperialism; especially post WW2 i thought i would see how the' problem' of identifying with the Middle East was tackled in the 1950's and especially in regard to the use of animated film.
I found a letter which had been de-classified which mentions the possibility of using Walt Disney to produce an animated propaganda piece.
This is all very interesting.

VFX-After the dust settled...

We are still working on the final edit and this should bee done soon. A hand in was made; but it was not finished. Told you i do not trust the rendering process...

Monday, 15 March 2010

Winding up the process.

As it is today that the deadline is upon us i am a little bit concerned that we have not rendered out anything yet.
This i have been reassured that there is no problem; its just using all the available time we have.
Still i dont trust the rendering/burning process and i still have to have time to sync the sounds. Thats all for now.

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

The Beetle. They have wings you know.

This is another test of the reflections from the moire on the paintwork of the beetle. The model needs a bit more work on it; but it is taking shape.

This is another shot with the wings extended. I hope that Alex (the guy i am working with) does not mind; but i have removed the spoiler. I can always put it on again. Modelling is not my strong point; but i have enjoyed this process so far, and, it does look like a Beetle. Cool. This is rendered with mentalray; as the paint shader i am using does not like Maya's own shader.
I have done some other experimental loops looking into reflection, refraction and Moire patterning; these are to follow.

The Visual effects Project.

There has been an awful lot of stuff going on; a lot of it in the studio, and a lot in the chambers of Pete our friendly German, insomniac, and a wiz with the visual effects.
Here is a linkto his blog; where any of the more technical problems have been documented.
This guy rides with a wingman named Oddne; and on his blog you can see how the Gun was modelled and the box built.

These guys have been great to work with and have been putting me to shame by staying in the studio till 9 all this week. ( I have been staying till 7 and not getting home til 9, sorry lads i need to see my family some time!). The role of producer is not one to be taken lightly; i have found you have to have an understanding of the technical process (so you can estimate if you are on time or not) excellent communication skills, silk gloves, and the shadow of a guillotine cast upon your back. As i write this the deadline is 48 hrs away and it is going to be a fairly close call. Till then; chow.

Monday, 8 March 2010

Visual effects update.

I must admit i feel like i left the rest of the team holding the baby earlier; as i had a meeting with Anne and then i had to go at 5.

I know for a fact the lads worked on as we have had trouble with rendering, (for some reason the ambient oclusion pass is not rendering) and this means we are a little behind scedule. I will get in early tomorrw and put some hors in; and hopefully we can get on track. There is an awful lot of rotoscoping that needs doing; and this can be pretty monotinous.
Us and them update.
Using transapancy on layers to get moire effects; here is a still.

I am going to do this with a less gradiated image; and in this way i should get a sharper image. The effect i am after is definitly present; so happy days!
(imagine this blown right up on a 20m screen, barely legal!)


Friday, 5 March 2010

Notes on the creation of star travel.

Im making a load of animated loops for the third years at the mo. Im doing doing one with the theme of stars and space travel, using polygon primitives, simple camera movement and projections.
This is the first render just to get an idea of the speed.

And this one has a flash at the end; which i suspect is overkill, to enable a loop.

The next thing i am going to do is try different primative polygons and try joining different images and polygons together. I'm thinking other worldly, wormhole like journey...

Update on the visual effects project.

We have been keying out all the green screen for the last two days. Toxic is a great package; with lots of room for minute adjustments. We have had to identify the edge to soften it up (with a gaussian blur) this was after we shrunk it with the keying node. The visability of the edge was improved with a ramp which was added to the background (a red one as this is opposite green and this made the splash from the green screen stand out). Pete has rendered out all the scenes in passes so that we have more control when we comp it together later. The only worry i have is the lenght of the shot; it is not as long as we thought it would be, this is partly because the cutting room floor is littered but also because of the story just not supporting the time. I think there is an opportunity for us to do a bit of slow motion and maybe add a little drama at the same time.
Its getting quite exciting now, and the end is in sight, but unfortunatly i am going to have to re-sync the sound because the clips we have used have changed in duration.
This should not take too long; and i have a great idea for the musical score, after speaking to a musician; he said about the prolific use of threes in animation musical scores. But i will get on that if we have time....

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

The process so far...

So far a lot of the process which i have been involved in has been ;let me say 'hard to see'. Being in the producer role i have had to make sure of some very important things; but maybe not so obvious things. So here is a short list outlining some of my contributions to this 'amalgimation of make-believe and reality'.

1.Assets. Making sure i have the equipment and skills available to me to satisfy the contract with the client. This involves making sure that the training is in place and studio time is booked; also any hardware is available. Also this calls for my team to all be getting the necesary sleep/food, etc.

2. Time management. As this is a project that we are using a lot of new software; we have to have strict time constraints; and if something is not happening we have to find a way round it. We had a lot of time put to one side for testing; and this was a wise decision seeing the problems that we ran into. (see previous entries). We are now getting close to the end of the project and are pretty much on time; but i suspect the keying is going to take an awful long time and eat into our contingency time.

3. I have been working on a sound track for the shot even though it is a visual piece. This has been taking a back seat and will only really be put into place when the visual work is done.

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

My thoughts at the moment (got a penny?)

If anyone gives a shit out there its not too obvious. I feel like i have been palmed off on this 'Vj project' and the fact is i am being given no direction from the guy who is running the show; and the guy i am supposed to be working with has no definate plan of what i am supposed to be doing. In a way i wish i was doing sound design in the 3rd year projects. Suppose the only thing i can do is start making some myself and build a library that way. Sorry this is a bit bitter; but ive had a shit month. A lot of it is my own fault; and this has just topped it off. I need a kick up the ass from someone; do your best!

The Visual Effects Project This is going to plan at the moment; we have had a few rendering issues and a problem with the particles (no shadows! doh). After that we can get on with the keying. I cant wait to get into this, as Pete and Oddne have been doing most of the modelling/tracking. I have been making the sound effects (which i enjoyed) and got to use Pro tools and a sister program for sound effects and some of the music. Here is a short vid.

Production meet today so hopefully all will be thrashed out then. My team has been ace so far; so no quibbles there. I just hope they can say the same about me as there producer....

Sunday, 21 February 2010

Animation- a social stick up the back.

Been thinking about my dissertation subject and have been looking at how most western mainstream animation installs American values in its characters. I have to get some more reading material on this before i concrete it as my choice; but it should not be far off this subject, f@%! yeah!

Friday, 19 February 2010

Studio time!

As luck would have it (and an awful lot of planning); we had until 9 oclock to get the filming done. And as it panned (lol) out we needed almost all the time. We had the greenscreen induction at 2.30 and then just stayed there til close. Here is a short vid of the Studio.
Note the lighting system that we had to use is the portable one; as we have not yet had the full studio health and safty induction. The yellow ones are called 'Blondes' and the red ones 'red heads',(this comes from a photography/film background,girls,girls,girls!). The Blondes are for lighting the back green sheet; they are set to flood and give off a light which produces soft edged shadows. This is also thanks to the gel deffuser. They are set to the side more than normal to imitate the street lighting and to aviod the back shadow. The Red heads were used to partly kill the shadow made by the blondes; but to also light the subjects. These were also gelled and flooded. The next thing to do was take a shot and work out the angle/position of the camera. This had to be only roughly because the images are on a plane and can be moved in 3d space afterwards. We also set the camera up.
Once some footage had been filmed we got a rough key in aftereffects using keylight 1.2 and decided on the final position of the lights and camera.
The next thing was to make sure the 'actors'knew where they had to perform the action and where the cut off points were. We knew the shots from the storyboard; so this was governed mainly by the shadows and the space we had available to us. The first shot of the boys walking toward eachother was first filmed separatly and then the two of them coming together.

The Rehersal; be serious!!!

The shots of the gun were taken from two angles and then cut together; the shot of Oddne being kicked was also shot from two angles and stitched together.
In my next post i will include the footage at the correct timing without the background; almost like our blockthrough.
I feel we are making progress and are on time with this project; but also i am aware that time is never on our side...

Studio prep.

Environment Lighting.

As Pete has drawn in where the light is going to be coming from on the scene we have to match this up in the 3d scene. To do this we
got hold of the layer of the drawing with the clouds on it and used this as an alpha channel. this enabled the light to be filtered in various ways
and levels as it comes into the scene.This effect has only got to be very subtle as another light effect is going to be used post rendering.

The Gun

The shape of the gun is going to be like a stubby mini-gun; about 50 calibre and is going to look absolutely HUGE.
This is one thing we have to act out quite well so that the scene is believable. The acting is going to take place infront of
'green screen' and the build of the gun should enable the actors to imitatae a bit of weight in the weapon. As we saw earlier;
the Keying points have been reduced in size, as , weirdly enough the program likes to descriminate between smaller tracking marks
than big ones. Im glad we done the test runs; else that would have been a nasty surprise being that green room
time is hard to come by.

As we have the filming tomorrow; i have flagged up the question of lighting, and how the scene is going to be lit.
Most of the light is coming from above and behind the actors so i have asked if it is ok to put some street lighting in the scene
so that we can imitate that with the lighting in the green room. On this subject we have to pick Georg's brains; and hope they have a decent rig in the studio.

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

What has been done so far...

Firstly the scene has been made; using matt painting for the background and some 3-d elements for the foreground. A bridge has been built which is going to collapse; this is going to employ a shatter effect.
The textures for the bridge were taken from some of the bare concrete in the uni building; and a bit of graffitti applied via photoshop.
The gun has been modelled and textured; the shells for the gun have been put on a motion path so they look although they are being fed in on a belt.
The shots have been planned; we need five in all' this has been accertained from the storyboard.
Today we are going to put all the elements together for the first scene render; and then we should have some idea of what the finished shot pre-effects will look like.
I have been trying to manage the time assets, making sure that all props and recources are in place for the filming which should take place today. I have had trouble getting any time in the green studio; with the media office stone walling me at first ask; saying the studio was booked out for the whole term! WHAT!
Eventually i found out that our first years have an induction in the said studio; and with a bit of communication found out we can shoot for an hour at the end of the day.
This means the preparation of the shots has got to be 100% and multiple takes are on the cards; with two cameras (for tracking) plus we can hopefully play around with the lighting a bit as this may aid for keying/garbage mask creation.
Well thats it for now; today is a big day and i have got to get with the program...

Monday, 8 February 2010


A rough storyboard has been drawn up,it is not one of my strengths but i had a crack at it anyway. This was then put on a time line to give us some idea of timing and camera angles.

This has highlighted a few problems with the lenght of the production; and made us think of some filler shots (thinking silhouettes of the lads fighting from more dynamic angles). I saw this used to great effect on KIll Bill two. Nothing is set in stone yet; so we won't be making any decisions till we have filmed the main footage plus the green screen footage.

Thursday, 4 February 2010

A few notes on the tracking process.

Here are a couple of vids that show the green box gun; the tracking points and some in promptu acting from Pete (note the war face).
In this vid we see masking tape being stuck onto the gun. As it happened we found a problem with the shininess of the tape (you can see it on 48 secs) this made us loose a fix on the points in the software. Poster paint or sticky fuzzy felt would be a lot better.
This clip shows filming with the P2 and the gun itself being waved around by Pete. We had to reducethe frame rate on the camera because of the flickering of the flourescent lighting. This area had great light and the distance we needed to see if we could pick up on the tracking points on the gun.

Sparks and smoke.

Today i have been playing around with Maya fluid dynamics. This is to create some gunsmoke. I have had a bit of success; but i still have to look into how to feather the edges and how to distort/ transform it.

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

VFX report into how the project is going.

We met up in the studio and had a chat about what was being produced and what we were going to do today.
Pete was going to try and track the mock gun with Match mover. Oddne is getting the motion paths going on the bullets on the 3d mini gun. This is right boys stuff, love it! We had a look at connecting the instances of the bullets to the master path so each bullet followed the same path and the path could be animated to simulate 'belt wobble'. This is great.
We have a few shots of the background which are matte paintings. Here are a few examples.

Pete has done a great job in making the background for our piece; here it is.I think he has done a great job. There is going to be a bridge in the forground (which is going to collapse) and the fighting is going to go on in front of that.

A bit of life drawing.

Went to the life drawing class last Thursday and found it most rewarding. After the first couple of poses went not too well got into the flow and how much time we had on each pose and working with the broad medium.

This is my best bit of work from the session because of its simplicity and commitment. I am sure i will make every effort to attend tommorrow and try to push this aspect of my work further; even though it is not compulsory.

Animation producer- a quote.

"A good producer is one who anticipates and plans, protects both the creative vision and the artists, and delivers on time and on budget. They also need to be excellent plate-spinners, fire-eaters, and circus ringmasters, with an inherent ability to herd cats."

— David Sproxton
Producer, Chicken Run; Executive Producer, A Close Shave, The Wrong Trousers; Director of Photography, Sledgehammer; Producer, Director of Photography, Creature Comforts; Co-Founder and Managing Director, Aardman Animations
Started 1972

This shows the battle which is at hand; but im on it!

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Post production project.

We have been given the chance to produce a visual effects piece incorparating live footage and some 3d work. I am working with Oddne and Pete; these guys had come up with the conceptual idea before i joined the group; but i have found out that there is plenty to do production wise. i have started to put together a timeline in Excel and also to make sure all the human/technical recources are in place. This involves making sure we have P2 inductions; access to the green screen studio, a rejeme which involves meeting up in the studio at least twice a week (preferably three times) and good communications when we are working at home through text, etc. As the project progesses i think that we will be spending more time as a group in the studio; as files will need to be going from artist to artist. The next thing we have got to do isget the storyboard on to a timeline; this will give us some idea of timeing for the shots and also will be work in progress. As the live footage is shot, thos can then be overlayed onto the timeline, and then taken off and the effects applied. As it is going to be a fight scene we will have to be very careful of quite a few things. Firstly the space we take up (as the green screen room is limited) secondly lighting as the inside outside shots are going to be different. I think it would be easier to just shoot it all outside and key it out in post; some of the software we have been looking at has some grea roto-scoping capabilities and this could save a lot of time cleaning up shabby keying (produced by keylight, etc). Third year vj loops. I have been giving the third years a hand (mainly Alex)and have produced a couple of loops. This is one of them; i have others in the pipeline. I am hoping to be able to produce a whole series of them. This short piece will loop when played with the vjing software.

Monday, 25 January 2010

Haiti animation loops.

After the tragic occurrences in Haiti, the third year vjing project has been given the chance of performing at a club in London (The Den), as part of a fund raising event. For this they laid down the challenge of coming up with some loops that are themed around the Haiti disaster, and to also show the outfits name.
This was a fast turn around, we only had two days, so here is one i came up with.

This is the name of the outfit,(us and them) and it is an ongoing project.

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

After the end and the (bit before it).

As the third day approached and the group was left reeling from a dressing down on the part of our crap story; the visual crew (gee, animators are great creatures) came up with a plan to save this farce. Some pre title storyboard style pictures were used to give the viewer an idea what had gone on and also a little bit of an intro was used. I Feel that these should have been avoided, but it got us out of this fix. On the subject of a fix the sound design that i had gathered the day before had strangley disappeared?? CD's dont sprout legs and walkout of studios themselves. This gave me some hard choices with the sound; and the second half of the animatic has a totally different score, well thats why. As for the editing in general, well as per usual time was of the essence and deadlines were being pushed; but it was all strung together with minutes to spare; but the sound file was messed up in the process, its far too loud; and this woul have to be addressed if we had a bit longer..

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

The Second day.

Today i put a lot of my time into researching what type of music would be best for the animation; and on deciding that, trying to find something that would fit. I feel that the dramatic narrative called for a keyboard; which when the events unfolded (ie the choking Goldilocks) the music took on a much more menicing form. The end is going to have strings that stab (phycho) so that we get a dramatic feel to the story.
Im still not happy with the narrative and feel like we are polishing a turd; so hopefully the music will give it something positive. This was picked up on in the meeting today.
The animation team has been brilliant, no quarrells, everyone in on time and pitching in. The storyboard and concept work has gone hassle free even though some of the camera shots were cconsidered a little week in the end of day talk.
I am looking at getting most of the sound sequencing done by 1 oclock; this should give us time to iron out any unforseen problems and rendering out.

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Warming to the idea...

Now that we have gone through the idea a couple of times i am warming to it. The idea that we are not going to stylize the piece and keep it fairly contemporary looking should not alert the viewer to the twist at the end, this is good. The look of it is going to be in keeping with the Disney color palette; but the bears are going to be aged somewhat. This will give the idea that the grudge has not been forgotten, and like porridge, revenge is maybe best served cold!

The 3 dayer.

We just got back to the normality of uni life with a slap round the creative corpuscles in the form of a collaboration with the creative writing course. We have to produce an animatic whilst promoting a positive side to fairy tales.
The fairytale that we have chosen is Goldilocks. The twist we are putting into the tale is that she is being re-invited back and either the bears or the girl gets poisened. So far this whole idea has not won me over; but thats just my opinion, and thats what you want, right?
Things might change, i have been given the post production roll (which i am happy about), but until the script has been written i am unconvinced on the narrative.
More moans presently....

Monday, 4 January 2010

Happy new year and that...

Sorry i have not posted in a while,for a start i have been on a bit of a self doubting trip which has just got to stop. Also it generates negative feelings and doubt in those around you and this is one thing that i want to leave at home and not transport into this semester.
Been messing around with a bit of design work, vector images, importing- exporting, more ideas about the Mamboness animation, wondering whether to start the character design sheets myself or to wait to see if anyone wants to collaborate with me; there are some people i would love on the team but i feel i have to put a bit more on the plate to convince them of my plan.
Yes maybe, that would put a few things in context and could flavour up the pitch.....
tea time, we will see....

What do you want to see and hear more about?